Alex McLeish's comments on a ‘strong Rangers’ are archaic and derogatory to our game

Scotland manager Alex McLeish has claimed that Scottish football is weak and that only a ‘strong’ Rangers side could compete with Celtic, in the aftermath of the Ibrox side being hammered 5-0 on Sunday as Celtic clinched their seventh title in a row.

Speaking at last night’s PFA Scotland awards bash, McLeish told Sky Sports News: "Rangers are still in transition, they know they have made some progress. They made a statement last week saying that, well they know what's happening inside.

"In terms of where they should be, we know where that is and for everybody concerned with Rangers it's not good enough.

"Like Jack Ross said, you need good players. Rangers have got some good players but they need more to compete with Celtic.

"It is not a level playing field at the moment. I'm sure that Celtic will improve with a better Rangers team. Also, the whole of Scottish football will improve with a better Rangers team.

"You have to respect what they [Rangers] are saying, they feel they're on course in terms of what's going on in the background.

"It is not for me or anybody else to dispute that so let's hope that we see an emerging and much stronger Rangers team for the sake of the Scottish game."

I’m sorry but Rangers are in transition and made some progress? Really? What planet are you on McLeish or a fairer question would be ‘who spiked your drink last night’?

'Not a level playing field'

And his comment about the league not being a ‘level playing field’ at the minute is insulting to those clubs who worked within the laws of the game when the likes of McLeish and his pals at Ibrox decided to dodge paying tax through the scandalous and illegal EBT scheme – in which McLeish received £1.7 million – a scheme that the former Hibs, Rangers and Aston Villa manager even admitted to helping them get on to a level footing with Celtic during his tenure at Ibrox.

Is the Scotland manager actively calling on Rangers to dodge paying their taxes again? Or maybe he is calling on the Scottish FA or SPFL to limit Celtic’s ability just to help his former side out. He really does need to expand on what he means by 'not a level playing field'.

The fact that a Scotland manager is claiming that our game is not a level playing field disgraces the position he is in and is further evidence as to why he should not be near the job.

McLeish’s face, during Sunday’s 5-0 demolition, was a picture as he sat among the Rangers delegation in the director's box at Celtic Park. The bitterness and hurt oozed out of him and he used his role as Scotland manager to turn it into some justifiable comment on our game during the awards bash.

Scottish football as a whole has improved since the old Rangers were liquidated and were found out to have been party to financial doping in order to buy silverware and European glory. The fact that they cannot pay over the odds for top players now by using bank loans from ‘friendly bank employees’ and dodging tax goes to show the level that Rangers were at before the Murray years and what this new club masquerading out of Ibrox is at currently.

Our game needs strong clubs not one club

If Celtic will improve with a better and stronger Rangers team does that mean they will win the treble every year? Scottish football as a whole will not improve with a stronger Rangers side. It is the greatest lie that anyone with an association with the Ibrox side has claimed for the past six years to deride the state of our game and of Celtic’s achievements.

Their belittling shows quite clearly how much Rangers’ demise and Celtic’s continued success is hurting them.

With Aberdeen and Hibs challenging for second spot along with Rangers – it is a clear indication that Scottish Football is not as bad as what some want you to believe. Yes, the players may not be as good as those in the English Premier League, or even in the good auld days of when McLeish had his brown brogues polished or blazer ironed by Jimmy Bell at Ibrox, but it is our game, a game that we all love and despair with equal measure. But it seems that only Rangers associates want to deride and belittle our game – conveniently when they are not winning anything.

Did we hear such concerns when Rangers matched Celtic’s exploits to win nine in a row in the 90s? We heard no such thing. Why is that?

When Celtic faced their own financial problems – before Fergus McCann saved the club from liquidation – did we hear of needing a strong Celtic to improve our game? Again we heard no such thing. Again why is that?

Why are we now hearing about the need for two strong sides in our game? Surely our game would be better served by strong clubs throughout?

McLeish was party to the biggest footballing scandal in Scottish football history as part of the EBT scandal at Ibrox, that should have precluded him from the national job, even after turning his back on the role first time around for little Birmingham City.

Maybe McLeish would be better served in telling his former employers to stop speaking a load of shite when they claimed to have improved and tell them to get their house in order first, before anyone with engrained stains of brown brogue polish has the audacity to tell us that Scottish football would be better served with a strong Rangers in the league.

The former Dons defender could also have a word with his employers who systematically oversaw Scottish football’s decline during the 90s and the noughties.

Maybe he could wake up the 'bored' President Alan McRae and ask Rod Petrie's stooge how we can improve Scottish football as a whole rather than just focus on one club.

I’ve not heard this amount of horseshit since the days of Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster threatening our game with Armageddon, and goes to show that those in positions of power in our game are doing more harm than good to its image.

Last Ditch Tackle is unashamedly passionate about Scottish football, with a heavy Celtic slant.